Understanding Nursing Roles During Early Pregnancy

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A special kind of medical professional assists expectant mothers in maintaining their health and that of their unborn children. Women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) help mothers who are expecting, to avoid and recognize health problems that might present before, during, or after birth. The specialists aid the mothers in learning and implementing healthy habits during pregnancy.

The nurses work closely with parents throughout the gestation period. They might care for children in academic settings, help parents connect with local resources, and teach breastfeeding techniques or parenting skills. Prenatal nurses must possess proficient communication skills to perform these tasks effectively. While this role may appear straightforward, there is much more to prenatal nursing than one might think.

The Case for Prenatal Treatment

Prenatal care providers work to promote and maintain the health of women and their unborn children. [1] The practice allows care providers to intervene early when pregnancy complications arise. During treatments, prenatal specialists regularly assess the wellbeing of the fetus. The dedicated nurses play a central role in educating expectant parents about the importance of ongoing early prenatal care.

Health outcomes improve notably among infants whose mothers receive prenatal treatments. Prenatal care is the best practice for promoting health in newborn children. As a result, the United States government launched the Healthy People 2010 campaign with the goal of encouraging 90 percent of all expectant mothers to receive prenatal care.

The Benefits of Prenatal Care

Preferably, prenatal visits should start once the mother misses her first menstrual period. [2] Many women suspect that they are pregnant and visit a care provider after missing a menstrual cycle. Others will not seek prenatal treatment until after taking a home pregnancy test.

One service that prenatal specialists deliver after identifying a pregnancy is a full physical examination. [1] During this service, prenatal nurses might assist the primary care provider with this procedure. The care provider will search for any sign that an expectant mother might have a preexisting medical condition. For example, rarely, a gestating mother might have a serious condition such as breast cancer.

Another important part of prenatal care is determining the estimated due date (EDD) which physicians previously called the estimated date of confinement (EDC). On occasion, the care provider may find difficulty in determining the EDD such as in an instance where the patient has an irregular cycle. Establishing an EDD is critical, as care providers make different treatment decisions based on the patients’ current trimester.

The birth of a child is one of the most important events that occur during parents’ lives and requires emotional and physical preparation. [2] Nine months is a short span for first-time parents to learn the many important facts about keeping a child healthy before, during, and after birth. During this period, nurses help the parents learn how to maintain the health of their entire family. This is an extended process where parents learn different facts over time. These interventions directly contribute to the wellbeing of families.

During treatments, care providers continually assess the growth and development of fetuses and monitor for health complications that might cause issues during childbirth. Prenatal diagnoses also help medical professionals pinpoint preexisting health problems that pregnancies might exacerbate.

The medical community has only relatively recently accepted prenatal care as an important contributor to the promotion of positive gestation outcomes. Today, prenatal specialists teach expectant mothers healthy habits such as:

● Folic acid intake
● Proper diet practices
● Sexually transmitted disease (STI) prevention
● Tobacco and alcohol cessation
● Weight management

Prenatal care also allows medical professionals to teach mothers who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, how to manage their health during pregnancy.

Teaching Parents to Nurture

Parents preparing for the birth of their first child might experience the mixed emotions of joy and anxiety at the same time. [3] As a result, prospective parents typically have many questions.

Nurses who specialize in prenatal care will likely find themselves leading classes where parents can find answers about their apprehensions, inquiries, and notions. The classes prepare prospective parents for the challenges and joys of life with a child.

Parenting classes typically review the delivery procedure, pain relief treatments, and the stages of pregnancy. To the delight of new parents, the classes help to demystify the pregnancy and birthing process and might give them the opportunity to view a recorded birth in addition to touring a birthing theater and ward.

Prenatal Care: Not Just for Mothers

Births affect the entire family, with each member possessing individual emotional responses toward the event. [2] Cultural and familial backgrounds play a significant role in how family members adapt to the changes that a new birth will introduce. Modern nurses who pursue a women’s health nurse practitioner career must understand the many types of household structures that exist today, such as alternative families, dual career families, single parent families, and stepfamilies.

Most research conducted in the United States concerning family dynamics focuses on Caucasian, middle-class, nuclear families. Therefore, care provider organizations need qualified prenatal nursing professionals that understand how to apply the latest medical best practices in ways that promote positive outcomes for individuals of varying cultures.

Culturally literate medical personnel bridge the gap between health care organizations and the diverse constituents that represent the community. Until researchers explore how the birthing process affects various kinds of people, culturally literate prenatal specialists will remain a critical resource for promoting the best possible experiences and outcomes for consumers.

Prenatal nurses are empowered to promote healthy habits among prospective mothers. [1] These professionals assist primary care providers in promoting healthy outcomes for gestating mothers and newborn babies. The most powerful tool available for promoting wellness among this patient population is prenatal education.

Learn More

Providing medical services takes skill. Serving more than half of the U.S. population takes specialized expertise. That’s where the WHNP online program makes its mark. With this degree, you can learn to treat women’s specialized health needs across their life cycle.

Recommended Reading

The Unique Need for Women’s Health NPs
Best Practices to Promote Cultural Awareness


[1] http://downloads.lww.com/wolterskluwer_vitalstream_com/sample-content/9780781785587_Klossner/samples/Chapter007.pdf
[2] https://books.google.com/books?id=QsXsAwAAQBAJ&pg
[3] http://www.physiciansandmidwives.com/2017/03/01/importance-prenatal-pregnancy-classes